Glasgow based charity, Free Wheel North have teamed up with Spring Events, calling on people to get in gear as part of the Cycle 21 fundraising event to help keep vital services running.
Kicking off on Friday (29 January) until Sunday 28 February, Free Wheel North’s Cycle 21 event will see participants cycle six, 21 or 44-miles in a bid to help reach the charity’s £20,021 fundraising target for the year, to facilitate core costs for the charity.
Like many charities, Free Wheel North has felt the impact of the pandemic head on, seeing visitors to their adapted and accessible cycling track in Glasgow Green fall from 40,000 a year to just 10,000 in the final months of 2020.
Free Wheel North, when fully operational, runs a variety of sessions for people of all ages and abilities. Learning to ride a bike, participating in led rides, riding adapted trikes at the Cycle Centre at Glasgow Green, and many more services, including bike maintenance, show that there is no barrier to getting on a bike.
Community is integral and at the heart of the fantastic work the team and volunteers at Free Wheel North carry out. Now, the charity is calling on the local and wider community, service users and beyond to get involved in Cycle 21.
Ryan Bharaj, Free Wheel North media developer, enthuses: “There is a community aspect to the event; our tagline is Share, Cycle, Donate, so being a part of the team officially is key to that.
“We’re trying to make it as flexible as we can. Once you register, it is flexible in terms of the mileage, you can decide your cycle route – but make sure you are still following boundary restrictions.
“We’re also pushing for people to get involved in the home by using exercise bikes and turbo bikes, so you can get involved without leaving the house.”
Teaming up with Spring Events, after the founder took his son to Free Wheel North and got a taste of the excellent work in place, Cycle 21 is encouraging people to get back on their bike to boost their mental and physical health through the virtual event.
Always working to ensure people have access to enjoy the outdoors, Free Wheel North has a range of adapted bikes, events and led rides. The led rides see people get involved in cycles of varying lengths around Glasgow and the surrounding areas to help build confidence, stamina, and get to meet some friendly faces.
“We usually have led rides all year round that are well attended. Some people will be able to cycle longer distances, and they will be able to cycle the equivalent distance of 24-miles to Bowling and back or the 50-miles to the Kelpies,” explains Free Wheel North’s project co-ordinator, Carol Thompson.
“For people who haven’t been on their bike during lockdown, there is the six-mile option.
“And, the 21-miles is in the middle – it’s to symbolise 2021. Forget about 2020 and focus on the year ahead.”
Ryan adds: “There is a real hunger and drive to cycle. For Cycle 21, it encourages people to get involved with a team effort, getting involved with others will motivate you too.
“There is also a massive social aspect to cycling. As lockdown continues there is an increased feeling of isolation for a lot of people, especially if you live on your own, Cycle 21 will allow people to plug back into the community and get active at the same time.”
This virtual cycling event is imperative to not only encourage people to get back on their bike, but to help a charity that does important work showing people that age and ability shouldn’t hold you back from cycling.
“We have had a lot of new users with all different abilities, so I hope more people will be more aware that they can come and cycle and get involved with cycling,” enthuses Carol.
With over 30 bikes and trikes available, it is hoped Free Wheel North will raise the much needed £20,000 so everyone has access to the joy of cycling.
Register for Cycle 21 here, get ready to get on your bike, and remember to share your progress using #FWNCycle21